A nutritionally fulfilled mare has a better chance of maintaining condition throughout her pregnancy. The growing fetus will require all the nutrients taking a toll on the mare’s blood, muscles and bones. It is important to make sure your mare is healthy before breeding and throughout.
Make sure your mare is up to date with her vaccinations. It is a good idea to administer a booster Tetanus injection one month prior to foaling. This allows for sufficient antibodies to build up in the colostrum prior to birth. The foal will then be provided with antibodies against this disease following its first feed of colostrum and means you don’t need to inject your foal with a tetanus anti-toxin on the day of birth.
We recommend your mare be treated with a product containing Moxidectin one month prior to foaling. It is also good practice to wash down the mare’s udder with a warm soapy wash a few weeks prior to foaling if safe to do so. This removes some of the roundworm eggs that may have accumulated and will be directly passed onto your foal.
If your mare was sent to a stud for breeding, please check to see if she has had a caslick procedure performed. This procedure is the surgical closing of the upper part of the vulva performed to prevent air and faecal contamination tracking into the vagina during pregnancy. You will need to have this opened by a vet prior to foaling. If left unopened it can result in trauma to the mare or worse, death to the foal during delivery.
If foaling down your mare for the first time we recommend that you either employ the services of a reputable stud/foaling down unit or at least the use of a foaling alarm. Foaling alarms send signal to a receiver in your house or mobile phone when the mare lies down. Mares rarely lie down in the last stages of pregnancy so this is often associated with labour.
A mare’s udder will usually begin to develop 3-6 weeks prior to foaling. If the udder has developed more than 2 months before she is due, it is recommended to get a vet check done to ensure everything is okay. Running milk is a concern as it indicates an infection in the placenta. This is a serious condition but can be effectively diagnosed and treated by our vets.
Normal delivery should result in two front hooves and a muzzle presenting in the birth canal. Following this delivery should be no longer than half hour. If a red bag is present, this should be ruptured immediately and the foal assisted to be delivered. This means the placenta is separating prematurely and the foal will be starved of oxygen. If any abnormalities occur call your vet immediately. Unlike cows, mares deliver with forceful explosive contractions and things can go wrong very quickly if the foal is in the incorrect position.
Franklin Vets offer broodmare checks which are best performed 4-6 week prior to the due date.